Choreographer: Rachel Browne | Photo: Rodney S. Braun


Embracing Equality and Inclusion

The School of Contemporary Dancers is committed to listening, learning and further improving our efforts to embrace the values of equality and inclusion. We recognize the existence of systemic racism in Canadian society, including within the arts. We recognize Canada’s history of unequal treatment of Indigenous & Black peoples and other marginalized groups. While we have always strived to be an inclusive, anti-racist institution, we recognize the need for further growth and learning and we are committed to doing so.

• In the upcoming season, we will be engaging IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) advisors to assist staff and board in achieving a deeper understanding of the effects of colonization and the promotion of anti-racist policies.

Mandate and Guiding Principles

Our Mandate is to prepare dancers for careers in contemporary dance performance. In implementing this Mandate, we have embraced the values of diversity and accessibility in our Organization Objectives.

• To further emphasize our commitment to these values, they will now be included in our Guiding Principles, which regulate the implementation of the Mandate. These Guiding Principles will declare the commitment to promote an anti-racist environment including through:
i) embracing diversity of artistic practices and within our faculty and student body
ii) promoting accessibility to training, especially in regard to IBPOC students and other marginalized groups.

Diversity of Faculty

During our most recent season, approximately 25% of our Professional Program faculty were IBPOC artists and approximately 25% were LGBTQ artists. (This includes core faculty, in-province guest faculty and out of province guest faculty). Of the School’s two Co-Directors, one is an IBPOC artist. We will strive to achieve substantial diverse representation within our faculty each year.

We are committed to providing our students with a diversity of learning experiences to develop artistic versatility and to create a respect for diverse artistic voices, including IBPOC artists, LGBTQ artists and women artists. We believe this diversity enriches our art form.

• We are looking forward to including IBPOC guest artists within our Dance Legacy course in the up-coming season. We feel this will instill a deeper understanding of challenges faced and contributions made by IBPOC artists.

In terms of repertory mounted, remounted or created by faculty and guest faculty, we are committed to excluding works that are culturally offensive and to deepening our understanding of this issue.

Diversity of the Student Body and Promoting Accessibility

In our most recent season, our Professional Program student body included over 33% IBPOC students.

As a training institution, we feel that through supporting accessibility to training, we can help support the entry of IBPOC artists and other marginalized groups into the art form and ultimately into leading roles within the profession. We have been concerned about the issue of accessibility for some time. As a result, we formalized the establishment of annual scholarships in 2013. These scholarships have been awarded each year to IBPOC students from public schools who otherwise may not be able to access our programs. These students are chosen by their public schools for their talent and interest. These students receive full tuition scholarships for each year in the Junior Professional Program and annual partial tuition scholarships through the Senior Professional Program. Six IBPOC students received these scholarships in our most recent season.

• It is our intention to proceed with the above scholarship awards for IBPOC students in the upcoming year.

In the upcoming year, we are looking to connect further with IBPOC inner-city public-school students who would be eligible to receive this support. We are delighted to be planning free out-reach workshops for a core area public school with a predominantly Indigenous population. Within our Professional Program, we are exploring new ways to support our Indigenous students with their input and through listening to their knowledge of their community.

Honouring The Legacy Of Our Founder

Our contemporary dance community was founded by Rachel Browne who was a member of the LGBTQ community, a life-long feminist and a human rights advocate. We have always aspired to follow in her footsteps. We are committed to continuing the important journey for human rights.